A long, long time ago, the Mayans were believed to have first discovered cocoa, which they considered as a sacred treat. Nowadays, chocolates are still considered precious delights. They certainly make wonderful treats during festive seasons and who would ever say no to a chocolate souvenir! Yup, chocolates are some of the popular things tourists buy as souvenirs to bring home. Malaysia certainly has its own home-grown chocolate brands, but besides that, while you are here in Malaysia, why not indulge in something more chocolate-y? Perhaps a tea-time treat at a chocolate café…or a tour of a chocolate factory?
Malaysian chocolate flavours
Typically, you can always count on the standard flavours of chocolates such as white, milk and dark (with various percentages of cocoa). The chocolate experience is a bit novel in Malaysia, though, as Malaysian chocolatiers have taken chocolate-making a step further by infusing local flavours into their creations.
For instance, you find many chocolate brands in local shops, with unique flavours that you cannot find elsewhere. Try mango chocolates…or for those who love the King of Fruits, there are many durian chocolate selections…these are popular flavours among tourists. How about Gula Melaka chocolates and Teh Tarik chocolates? Well, we leave it to you to taste!
Here are some Malaysia-brand chocolates you may wish to bring home as souvenirs, which can be easily found in most supermarkets and shopping malls: Beryl’s, Camior, Daiana, Fidani, Hoko, Vochelle and many more.
Chocolate cafes are booming fast, almost overtaking those trendy cafes and their coffees! Well, it’s a blessing for all chocolate lovers, then. If you want to really savour your chocolate indulgence, make a visit to MyTown Shopping Centre in Cheras, where you will find chocolate decadence at The Dark Gallery (https://thedarkgallery.com). Reading the menu list itself will make you drool, but if you are overwhelmed by the choices, it’s wise to go with the tasting platter that combines their best chocolate pastries, ice creams and hot chocolates.
The pretty décor of Nayuta Chocolatasia (http://www.nayuta.com.my), meanwhile, will remind you very much of the Far East. The café, located within Isetan Japan Store in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, prides itself in the high quality of cacao beans cultivated right here in the Southeast Asian region, namely Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and of course, Malaysia. They call themselves the “chocolate label produced by Asian people to suit the Asian taste palate” for milky, caramel-infused and soft textured chocolate. Spend an afternoon here to sample their delicate 8g bonbons with typical Asian ganache such as lime, pineapple and yuzu, or delight in a huge bar of chocolate with cashew nuts, dried mango and caramelised coconuts. With all that sweetness in your mouth and the artful décor, you will want to daintily sip that cup of hot chocolate!
Looking for more? Apart from the trendy cafes, some established chocolate manufacturers have also introduced a specialty concept-store known as the chocolate museum.
One of these chocolate museums that the public can visit for free is the Chocolate Museum by Fidani (www.chocolatemuseum.my) at Kota Damansara. Apart from the boutique shop selling more than 100 chocolate brands, the premise is well-equipped with a large gallery full of informative facts and displays about the art and science of chocolate-making. Learn about the history of cacao beans, the farming process and how it is transformed from bean to bar. They also have a live-kitchen demo by a chef on the makings of chocolates.
Another worth-visiting museum is the Beryl’s Chocolate Museum (www.berylschocolate.com.my), about 20 kilometres from the city centre. The museum is well-laid out with informative chocolate displays on history, chocolate facts and more. You’ll also be able to purchase all sorts of chocolate flavours from the Beryl’s brand.
For the serious chocolate lover, head over to the heart of Bangsar, where the Chocolate Concierge (www.chocconcierge.com) will be most happy to match you with the right chocolate that you’ve been craving for, selected from their large selection of chocolate flavours and recipes. And if your chocolate urge is still not satisfied, they’ll even custom-make the chocolate for you, of course, with a low minimum order. With passion-driven care for chocolates and bean origin, Chocolate Concierge is mighty serious about their bean-to-bar process, and it’s no surprise that they’ve been featured in the Michelin food guide as a rising chocolatier. Try the soft filling chocolate morsels with hints of cappuccino, strawberry, or wasabi, and their hand piped truffles. Or for something truly local, go for the freshly-made Pahang Origin Dark chocolate with cocoa nibs.